Indiana Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Indiana unemployment benefits provide financial support if you're unemployed. Learn whether you qualify for unemployment benefits and how much you'll receive.

If you're an Indiana resident and are unemployed for reasons that aren't your fault, you may be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) administers unemployment benefits using funds from employer premium contributions. This article explains eligibility for Indiana unemployment benefits and how much you'll get. 

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Indiana?

Your base period earnings and reasons for job separation determine your eligibility for Indiana unemployment benefits. You'll also need to actively search for work to maintain your benefits entitlement. 

Monetary Eligibility

Indiana counts the first four of the last five completed quarters before filing for unemployment benefits as your base period. Unlike many other states, Indiana doesn't operate an alternative base period for people who didn't earn enough to qualify through the standard system.

Your total base period earnings must be at least $4,200, with a minimum of $2,500 in the final six months. Furthermore, your base period income must be at least 1.5 times what you received in the highest-earning quarter. 

Reasons for Unemployment

To qualify for unemployment insurance in Indiana, your reasons for job separation must not be your fault. Therefore, you'll likely be eligible if you meet the monetary criteria and lost your job because your company shut down or laid off staff members. The DWD will ask for information about your reasons for separation from you and your employer to help determine your eligibility.

You likely won't be eligible for unemployment benefits if you choose to quit your job, including receiving payment in return for your voluntary resignation. However, you may retain eligibility if you leave for a compelling reason, such as:

  • Fleeing domestic violence
  • Workplace harassment
  • Relocation due to changes in your spouse's work
  • Unacceptable changes to your working terms or conditions
  • Unsafe working conditions

You won't usually qualify if your employer fired you due to unsatisfactory performance, including poor attendance, refusal to carry out reasonable instructions or criminal activity in the workplace. 

Searching for Work

The DWD requires claimants to search for work while receiving benefits, and failure to do so may affect your right to receive payments. You must also be physically and mentally well enough to work and be available every day of your claim period. The DWD will reduce your weekly benefits payment by 1/3 for every day you're unable to work, such as if you're sick or on vacation. 

Claimants must accept any job referral or suitable job offer to maintain their benefits eligibility. Generally, the DWD considers a job offer suitable if it offers roughly equivalent pay to your previous roles in a similar location and is appropriate to your skills and experience.

However, the department expects greater flexibility in the type of work you'll accept the longer you remain unemployed. For example, it may require you to take a role in a different industry. A longer unemployment period also affects the proportion of your previous salary you can insist upon:

  • Unemployed for 5-8 weeks: You must accept any role paying at least 90% of your usual salary.
  • Unemployed for 8+ weeks: You must accept any role paying at least 80% of your usual salary.

You must submit a record of everything you've done to try to secure employment when you file your weekly claim voucher. The DWD expects claimants to carry out at least one job search activity to stay eligible for benefits. Generally, you should undertake whatever activities would usually lead to full-time employment for a person in your regular industry. These could include:

  • Attending an industry networking event
  • Updating or improving your resume
  • Applying for jobs
  • Attending job interviews
  • Engaging with re-employment activities through WorkOne

Work Search Waivers

The DWD may waive the requirement to search for work in certain circumstances. For example, you may receive a work search waiver if you quit your job due to domestic violence to allow you to seek support and address the effects.

The DWD may also issue waivers for people enrolled in an approved training program or members of an approved union hall. However, claimants with a jobs search waiver must be mentally and physically capable of working to maintain their benefits eligibility.

How Do You Apply for Indiana Unemployment Benefits?

Initial Application

You can apply for Indiana unemployment benefits online through the DWD website. Applicants without internet access can fill out the online application at their nearest WorkOne branch. Have the following information ready to file your claim:

  • Work history for a 2-year period with employer contact details and employment dates, including out-of-state positions
  • Reasons for job separation
  • Driver's license or Indiana state ID
  • Valid email address
  • Social Security Number

Filing an Indiana unemployment benefits claim automatically opens an Indiana Career Connect account with the same login you created to submit your application. You must use your credentials to log into Indiana Career Connect, create a profile and upload a current resume within 10 days of filing. Failure to do so will result in your claim being denied. However, people with a work search waiver are exempt from this requirement.

Weekly Claims

Successful applicants must submit a weekly claim voucher requesting a benefits payment through the DWD website. Claims vouchers cover the preceding week. You should submit your voucher by 8:59 p.m. EST on Saturday, and the DWD doesn't accept late submissions. 

You can't submit a claim voucher for Indiana unemployment benefits in person or over the phone. However, you can file online at your local WorkOne branch if you don't have internet access.

How Much Do You Get From Indiana Unemployment?

You can receive Indiana unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks, although the state may extend the benefits period in times of unusually high unemployment. The DWD calculates your weekly payment using your base pay earnings, up to a legal maximum of $390 per week.

Your weekly benefit amount is your base period wage total, divided by 52 and then multiplied by 0.47. Any severance or retirement income will reduce your weekly amount dollar-for-dollar. You must report any wages received when you file your weekly claim voucher if you work while claiming benefits, as this will affect your payment amount.

What Happens If Unemployment Benefits in Indiana Are Denied?

If the DWD rejects your benefits claim and you disagree with the determination, you have the right to appeal. You must file your appeal within 10 days of the date on the Determination of Eligibility document. The appeal should include your name, contact information and reasons for disputing the decision. Send your appeal to:

Indiana Department of Workforce Development
Attn: Appeals Division
10 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Alternatively, you can submit your appeal in person at the above address or by fax to (317) 233-6888.

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